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7 steps to prepare your home for fall

Happy family in front of house
Happy family in front of house
Happy family in front of house

Essential tips for preparing your home for the autumn season.

After another sizzling summer, you may be looking forward to cooler fall temperatures. Remember the change in season also means a change in home maintenance priorities. Keep your home safe and costs low with these seven tips:

1. Tune up your furnace

If you want to make sure your furnace can keep your home warm all winter long, an annual tune-up is essential. The best time to perform this service is in late summer, before you switch your thermostat to heating mode.

How to get fall-ready

Leave it to the pros! Due to potential hazards, furnace maintenance is not DIY work. Get a licensed professional to do a detailed inspection, lubrication, and cleaning to extend the life of your system, improve efficiency, and identify potential carbon monoxide leaks. 

2. Inspect your window and door seals

Air leaks around your doors and windows can be a problem no matter the season, but they're most noticeable when cold air starts seeping in.

How to get fall-ready

Take time to closely inspect the weather stripping on each window and exterior door to ensure it's in good shape. If weather stripping appears cracked, brittle, or torn, it should be replaced. You can purchase different types of weather stripping at most hardware stores, and installation is easy.

3. Clean your chimney and fireplace

Common problems like a sticky damper or creosote buildup in the chimney can lead to serious consequences like house fires or carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to get fall-ready

Chimney sweeping is messy business so it's a good idea to have a trained set of eyes look over your chimney and fireplace once a year. Even if you don’t use your functioning fireplace, you should still inspect the damper to make sure it's effectively blocking out cold air.

4. Switch your window treatments

Cold temperatures call for thick, heavy drapes as an extra layer of insulation to minimize drafts and keep rooms cozy.

How to get fall-ready

Keep separate sets of window treatments handy for warm and cold weather. Be sure to choose tightly woven thermal materials for your fall and winter drapes so that you get the most bang for your buck. 

5. Reverse your ceiling fans

Using your ceiling fans in either direction won't change the actual temperature of the air, but it can help you stay comfortable without having to crank up the AC.

How to get fall-ready

In the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to create a downdraft that makes you feel cooler. Conversely, switching your fans to rotate clockwise at low speed can help redistribute warmer air trapped near the ceiling. Most ceiling fans have an easy-to-locate directional switch near the motor.

6. Winterize pools and sprinkler systems

Swimming pools and buried sprinkler systems should be winterized properly every year to avoid unnecessary damage due to lack of use and freezing pipes.

How to get fall-ready

Winterizing your pool consists of inspecting, draining, cleaning, and covering. Similarly, to winterize sprinklers, inspect, drain the water, clean, and store them. These tasks are time consuming, so leave plenty of time before the first freeze arrives.

7. Maintain your trees and gutters

Your rain gutters collect dead leaves every fall. You can cut down on this problem by trimming back tree branches that hang over your roof.

How to get fall-ready

Trim and prune any tree branches that have grown too close to your house. Consider hiring a professional for trimming near power lines, pruning high branches, or removing large, heavy branches. Then, remove large debris from your gutters and use a garden hose to flush out any remaining residue. Doing this annually can protect your gutters, roof, and siding. It also prevents ice dams from forming in winter.

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